OT and PT put the FUN in FUNCTIONAL!

August 17, 2023

Our students love going to OT and PT and make excellent gains because of our phenomenal therapists.  This is the spot we highlight some of the skills our students work in with them. 

Do you remember when you took your first step? Probably not! How about when you first pincer-grasped a cheerio to pop into your mouth? No? That’s because most of us were too young to hold those memories. Most people pick up these types of developmental skills early in life, too early for us to recall.

But here at Crossroads, many of our kids have delays in developmental skills. They need a little extra help to acquire them. A little encouragement, some extra practice, and voila, before you know it, those skills are solid!

That’s what you’ll notice if you spend any time at all in our Occupational Therapy / Physical Therapy Gym. The crew now includes 4 OTs and 1 PT; all work with students throughout the building who have needs for their services in accordance with each students’ IEP (individualized education plan). So while one child is mastering drawing a shape, another tackles jumping forward. While one students becomes a whiz with zipping and unzipping a front-zipping garment, another works hard to don and doff his own sneakers and socks with speed and precision. So much going on! So many gains!

Cutting Edge | 8.17.23

D, a student from Room 8, has been mastering the skill of using scissors, with Meghan, OT. Recently we spotted him happily cutting yarn, a challenge for grasping, using hand strength, and using measurement perception in addition to the challenge of managing scissors.

What’s In a Name? | 8.17.23

Chenoa, OT has been working with T on letters and handwriting skills this year, and wow look at his progress – he is now able to write his whole name using a light tracer. Chenoa, OT has him using a variety of colors to keep him interested and motivated.

Onward and Upward | 8.11.23

Denise and A are working on core strength, and, as you can see in the pictures, she is doing well with her sit up exercise. Here Denise rewards A for each UP with a favorite toy, such as the shark and the guitar, both of which make sounds.

The use of positive reinforcement is based in ABA, and is long-shown through research to be effective in motivating students such as ours to continue with the exercises and make progress.

Using toys that make sounds adds an element of fun and engagement to the routine, making it more enjoyable for A. This positive experience can also help create a positive association with exercise and physical activity, which is important for building a healthy lifestyle from a young age.

Consistency and gradual progression in the exercises will be key to achieving the desired results. As A continues to improve her core strength, Denise, PT, and A can gradually increase the level of challenge in the exercises to ensure ongoing development.

Motor Groups | 8.9.23

It’s a delight to see the students engaged in the Motor Groups in OT/PT this summer. This group includes kiddos from Rooms 3 and 4, focused and determined and hitting their mark.

Motor Groups | 7.31.23

Thanks to the spirit of collaboration and creativity that our OT/PT team holds dear, our kids are enjoying Motor Groups again this summer. This program brings each class together in the OT/PT room weekly, to take part in highly motivating activities that practice gross and fine motor skills in a group setting. This last week, the theme was “Carnival” and we have some great pics of Room 14 enjoying their time there.

Learning to use the stairs 7.13.23

The “steps” our children take in every single domain are enthusiastically applauded here, from academics to communication, to physical skills.  Learning to use the stairs is an important developmental milestone for a child, and we are eager to show you the progress our kiddos are making. Here are the typical steps involved in the process of learning to use the stairs:

  1. Crawling: Before a child can learn to climb stairs, they need to develop basic crawling skills. Crawling helps strengthen their muscles and coordination, preparing them for more advanced movements.
  2. Grasping the concept: As a child observes others using the stairs or experiences them in their environment, they begin to understand the basic concept of going up or down the stairs. They may show curiosity and interest in exploring the stairs.
  3. Assisted climbing: Initially, a child will need assistance and guidance from a caregiver or parent. The adult should hold the child’s hand or provide physical support as they practice ascending and descending the stairs. This ensures safety and builds confidence.
  4. Step-by-step instruction: As the child gains familiarity and confidence, you can start providing simple step-by-step instructions. Use simple language and demonstrate each step, such as “lift your leg up” or “place your foot on the step.” Repeat these instructions consistently to reinforce the learning process.
  5. Practice with supervision: Encourage the child to practice using the stairs with supervision. Initially, they may require close monitoring to ensure their safety. Allow them to repeat the process multiple times until they become comfortable with the movements.
  6. Balancing and coordination: As the child gains proficiency, they will start to develop balance and coordination skills. This involves understanding weight shifting, maintaining stability, and using handrails (if available) for support while going up or down the stairs.
  7. Reinforcement and praise: Provide positive reinforcement and praise throughout the learning process. Celebrate each successful attempt, no matter how small, to motivate the child and boost their confidence. This positive feedback will encourage them to continue practicing and refining their skills.
  8. Gradual independence: Once the child has demonstrated consistent mastery of climbing stairs with supervision, gradually allow them to navigate the stairs independently. However, it is important to ensure the child’s safety by maintaining a safe environment, providing supervision when needed, and teaching them to use handrails.

Remember that each child develops at their own pace, so be patient and supportive throughout the learning process.

Mrs. Denise works on all of these steps with her students, whatever step they might be on. Today, here she is with “O” a youngster from Room 7. He even gets to pick out his own music to “stair” to!


Mastering the Stairs 5.31.23 

Not only has “J” learned many new skills this year working with Mrs. Denise, but he has also mastered the stairs with a slinky! The spring-like toy is mesmerizing and captivates the imagination of a child. As the metallic coils  cascade down, one by one, the slinky seems to possess a life of its own. The rhythmic sounds of its metallic reverberations add a jingle to the movement, and with every twist, flip, and bounce, J’s excitement grows.

Happy OT Month! 4.1.23

April is Occupational Therapy Month!

We want to take a moment to express our heartfelt thanks to our amazing OTs who work tirelessly to help our students achieve their goals and improve their quality of life. Your dedication, passion, and expertise are truly inspiring. You make a difference every day, and we are so grateful for all that you do. Thank you for being an essential part of our team and for making a positive impact in the lives of so many.

Our Occupational Therapists have provided some informative resources here for our readers to download.

OT Role in Schools                          Whole child Handout


Stairs! 3.29.23

Get to know “S” a little boy who has been working hard on learning to use stairs this year. With the help of his physical therapist, Mrs. Denise, S has made remarkable progress in his climbing skills.

Mrs. Denise motivates S to do this hard work by tossing a foam disc up to the top of the stairs, and encouraging him to climb up and find it. S is eager to reach the top and retrieve the disc, which makes the challenging task of climbing the stairs more enjoyable and rewarding for him.

S is now able to count the stairs with Mrs. Denise as he goes, too, which is helping him develop his numeracy skills. He does the full staircase of 20 or so stairs, which is a significant achievement for him.

It’s amazing to see the progress that S has made this year, and it’s all thanks to the dedication and expertise of Mrs. Denise and the team working with him. With continued support and encouragement, S is sure to reach even greater heights in the future.


Keep Your Eye on the BallOON! | 2.1.23

“A” is working on his racket skills which forces him to keep his eye on the ball and his arms coordinating with his eyes. Substituting a balloon gives it a light and floaty element which makes it both manageable and fun for him. OT, Ellyn, gives up the serves, and A volleys back!

Balance is the Key | 1.19.23

The balance beam is not the easiest skill to master, but this young man has worked hard to rock it!

Mastering the beam shows strong vestibular balance as well as being able to make movements that are accurate and controlled on a raised surface. Something that is also challenging is being able to focus on those movements and feeling gravity. N’s hard work has led to such great progress! Thanks, Denise, for sharing your excitement with us!

Practicing Pre-writing Skills | 12.13.22

When students know they are going to their OT session, they get very excited, happily looking forward to their time to play with their therapist. Little do they know, their playtime is really work time, and they are addressing challenging goals as they play.

Here we see two of our OTs with students working on pre-writing and cutting skills. Kiddos are practicing by tracing shapes and lines, cutting on a line, and both students here are quite determined to succeed at the task at hand.

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